I moved from Minnesota to Florida in 2018. I became pretty depressed. I gained quite a bit of weight. I didn’t have a fitness community around me like I did back home, so I wasn’t following the same healthy lifestyle. I used to take kickboxing and Zumba classes, go for long hikes — you name it. When my husband and I moved, he was quick to get back into his fitness routine, but I was slow to follow. Finally, I decided it was time to find myself again.

“Each month, I set a different goal”

I started the Thrive Challenge three months ago after a co-worker told me about it. Each month, I set a different goal. My first month was about jump-starting my routine. My husband and I started going for walks each morning or doing cardio. I also made it my goal to get at least 8,000 steps every day. My second month was about eating better. My husband and I started meal-prepping and pulling out our old healthy recipes. We used to spend around $250 on groceries every week, but now we make specific lists and spend around $90. And instead of going out to dinner — which we’d do three or four times each week — we’ve been eating at home and saving the money to splurge on something special each month.

“I’m my own worst critic”

In my third month, I’m focused on going back to the gym. I’m working out with a personal trainer and getting back into kickboxing. I’ve started packing a “workout safety net” in my car, filled with workout clothes and equipment. That way, I don’t have excuses to skip the gym. I’ve realized I’m my own worst critic. Recently, a trainer came up to me and asked me to show him an exercise I was doing earlier. He said he was going to add it to his workouts. It showed me that people are not thinking all the negative things I’m thinking about myself — they’re thinking the opposite. 

“It’s better to start over than to never start at all”

Everybody is scared of growing older, but I’ve always thought age is just a number. I was recently talking to someone and mentioned that I had gone to kickboxing the night before, and that it was challenging. They responded: “Well, you are 40.” That bothered me and set something off. I realized, I might not be in the best shape of my life, but at 40 years old, I feel fantastic. When I go to kickboxing, I’m just as strong as I was when I first started in my 30s. It doesn’t matter where you are in life — you can always start over. It’s better to start over than to never start at all. 

Making these changes has helped me relieve stress and come to work more energized. My associates have noticed my healthier decisions, and I’ve gotten some to take Zumba classes with me. My husband and I have always had a solid relationship, but now that I’m developing a more positive, active mindset, we’re getting closer. We’re rebuilding our relationship and pushing each other to be better versions of ourselves.

—Amanda Vaillancourt, Neighborhood Market #4669; Pinellas Park, FL; $3K Winner

Through the Thrive Challenge, our community is making Better Choices, seeing big results, and winning big.

Stories from past winners, such as Amanda Vaillancourt, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.